By J. Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, March 11, 2005
Starting this summer, students studying journalism will have to dig a little deeper to pay for their classes.
The department of journalism will be attaching course fees, ranging from $27 to $50, to 10 of its classes. The classes were identified by the department as classes that primarily use the expensive hardware and software through the department.
Jacqueline Sharkey, head of the department of journalism, said the department waited as long as it could before adding fees to the classes.
"With increasing enrollment, shrinking state support and increasing budgetary demands, (program fees) were inevitable," Sharkey said.
The department has seen a 17 percent increase in enrollment from fall 2003 to fall 2004 said Paul Johnson, the undergraduate journalism adviser. The department has more than 600 students.
The advanced broadcast class, Johnson said, costs the department $400 per student. These costs include broadcast equipment, including high-speed computers with larger memory caches, high-end video cameras and expensive video editing software. Students will have to pay $50 to take the advanced broadcast class.
Sharkey said the department has a responsibility to its students to provide the latest in software and technology.
"In the job market they expect graduates to have experience with the latest hardware and software," Sharkey said.
She said department estimates vary between one and six years for software and equipment replacement.
Sharkey said the fees are important to offset the current operating budget. She said for several years the department has run out of money five months before the end of the fiscal year.
"We rely on donations to coast through those months," Sharkey said.
The operating budget for the department is $37,734, which supports 600 students, six full-time faculty, 18 part-time faculty and four staff members.
Despite new stringent admissions standards for resident undergraduates applying to the UA in 2006, Sharkey said she sees no indication enrollment will level off.
"We expect it to increase," Sharkey said.
Despite the new course fees, Sharkey doubts the fees will deter students from enrolling in courses.
"I don't think the fees will be burdensome. Students will be taking one or two classes (with fees) per semester," Sharkey said.
The department also has a scholarship fund available for students who might need help paying for courses.
Melissa Colosimo, a journalism junior, said she understands why the course fees were implemented.
"I understand why they were necessary, but it's another increase in costs," Colosimo said.
Kathy Van Voorhees, a journalism sophomore, said new computers and software in the department are worth the fees.
"This is the first time I've been exposed to fees, but this department has really revamped. There is a lot of new stuff," Van Voorhees said.